Eruptive activity remains low at Kilauea summit and East Rift Zone
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Eruptive activity remains low at Kilauea summit and East Rift Zone

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    HVO scientists observed no new activity during their overflight this morning.

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    Ocean entries were small and scattered this morning, but lava had made no significant advance toward Isaac Hale Beach Park. As molten lava streams into the ocean, it shatters into small glassy fragments, forming black sand that’s transported along the coast by longshore currents.

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater was quiet again on Sunday, with only degassing from cracks and fumaroles (vents from which volcanic gas escapes into the atmosphere) noted by HVO observers.

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Activity remains at reduced levels at the Kilauea summit as well as the Lower East Rift Zone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey this morning.

Ocean entries were small and scattered this morning, but lava had made no significant advance toward Isaac Hale Beach Park, the USGS reported. The Pohoiki boat ramp remains intact, but access from it to the open bay has been cut off by a sand bar that extends from the jetty to the shore.

Seismic activity at the summit also remains low, with few earthquakes.

Today marks the 10th day since activity at fissure 8 slowed into a lull, with lower levels of lava in the channel. The activity has diminished dramatically since the morning of Aug. 4, according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in its latest Volcano Watch report. A collapse event at the summit has not occurred since Aug. 2, and monitoring instruments showed little change in summit deformation.

But geologists said it is too soon to tell whether the eruption is done.

“The significance of these changes is not clear,” said geologists in Volcano Watch. “It’s possible that the slowdown is just a pause, and that an eruption on the East Rift Zone and subsidence at the summit of Kilauea could resume. In 1955, two pauses of five and 16 days occurred during that 88-day-long LERZ eruption.”

This eruption, which began May 3, has already surpassed the 1955 eruption in length.

HVO today observed the lava pond in Fissure 8 cone was mostly crusted over, while lava oozed at several points along the Kapoho Bay and Ahalanui coastline, creating a laze plume.

During Saturday morning’s overflight, HVO found the southern-most flow margin had not advanced significantly toward the Pohoiki boat ramp, which is now surrounded by a sandbar and beach.

Hawaii County Civil Defense warned that it is common for eruptions to go through periods of diminished output, or to pause completely, only to reactivate days or weeks later, or longer. Activity could occur at any time. Residents are advised not to access the flow field due to extreme hazard, and to heed Civil Defense messages and warnings.

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